Yale researchers develop injection to treat skin cancer

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Аvera Allen, Deputy Editor In Chief

Date: 24.02.2021

Yale researchers are developing a skin cancer treatment that involves injecting nanoparticles into the tumor, killing cancer cells with a two-pronged approach, as a potential alternative to surgery.

“For a lot of patients, treating skin cancer is much more involved than it would be if there was a way to effectively treat them with a simple procedure like an injection,” said Dr. Michael Girardi, professor and vice chair of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine and senior author of the study. “That’s always been a holy grail in dermatology — to find a simpler way to treat skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.”

For the treatment, tumors are injected with polymer-based nanoparticles carrying a chemotherapy agent. Key to the treatment’s success is that the nanoparticles are bioadhesive — that is, they bind to the tumors and remain attached long enough to kill a significant number of the cancer cells.

“When you inject our nanoparticles into a tumor, it turns out that they’re retained within that tumor very well,” said co-author Mark Saltzman, the Goizueta Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and professor of physiology. “They accumulate and bind to the tumor matrix, so one single injection lasts for a very long time — the particles stay there and slowly release the compounds. You need that to get rid of the lesion.”

For comparison, the same drug was injected freely into tumors of control models without the nanoparticles. They found that the tumors were significantly more diminished when the drugs were delivered by nanoparticles.

Also critical to the therapy is that the treatment can be combined with an agent that stimulates the body’s immune system. 

In many cases, ridding tumors with an injection could eliminate the need for surgery, the researchers said. It may also then avoid potential wound infections and other complications. Additionally, some patients with other medical conditions are poor candidates for surgery.

An injection-based therapy would also mean that patients could have multiple tumors treated in a single visit. 

The article based on the information:YaleNews

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